Interview | Santiago Taccetti

Ein Interview über Technologie und Performance mit dem Künstler Santiago Taccetti, das am Ende auch von Dialog und Werbung handelt und der Frage, was Kunst mit Converse Schuhen zu tun hat. Santiago Taccetti, der in Berlin und Barcelona lebt und arbeitet, ist ein Freund von Interventionen. Seine Kunstwerke verändern oft gewohnte Situationen und Verhaltensweisen nur minimal, um sie zu hinterfragen. Egal ob auf der Straße, in Galerien oder in der virtuellen Realität.

Smoke and Mirrors

Das abgebildete Foto etwa stammt aus der Arbeit “Smoke and Mirrors”, die für einige Tage in einem vormals leeren Schaufenster in Buenos Aires zu sehen war. Aus Mangel an Alternativen findet das Gespräch übrigens in einen Starbucks statt. Vor allem wohl wegen des Wetters. Aggressive Popmusik ist zu hören, das Café ist überfüllt und laut. Draußen regnet es.

These coffee places are horrible. It might be old hat to critizise chains. But don’t you think that this fake individuality is just annoying?
Depends. There are good and bad chains and some survive and some don’t. You have to analyse why. When I used to live in the states – it was in the 70s – it was nearly impossible to get a good coffee anywhere. These coffee-chains might be satan here, but over there they were a bless. It depends on the context, I guess.

True. But there are so many annoying – maybe also fascinating – issues about them. The music for instance: This song right now probably comes from a stream and there is the same .mp3 playing in every branch.
That’s scary. Not necessarily bad. But scary. But right. A lot in here is fake.

In some of your artworks you use contemporary technology. I think of the one, in which you use apple’s exposé function to perform – let’s call it – a video-picture. Or the skype-piece, in which you produce an indefinite loop. What is your approach to technology?
I am not obsessed with technology. But I use it in some projects. Especially amateur technology or ready-made-technology. I treat this virtual technology as ready-mates, because they are part of our everyday life. The idea is to rearrange them in the least possible way to get another angle, another perspective on it.
The exposé-piece for example: It’s built of 30 monochrome videos popped-up and randomly arranged with the expose function. Every time in a different way.

Very volatile.
Yes. Even more in the sense that the software I use for some of my works is updated frequently. With the current apple operation system the performance of the piece is not possible anymore. Every time I update the regarding software, I think to myself: I might not be able to do this piece ever again.

Fortunately there is a video.
There is more than one way of seeing these kind of performances: It’s possible to reproduce them live in a gallery and there is the video of the performance. But most important of all there is always dialogue. People come to performances to socialize, to exchange ideas. This is part of the artwork as well. And technology as material and medium is interesting for me as long as we use it to maintain a social dialogue.

Your piece „Smoke and Mirrors“ – an installation of a smoke machine, some lights and mirrors, in a room behind display-windows – in some kind of way excludes the spectator.
“Smoke and Mirrors” in English is a phrase for illusions. Magicians often literally use them for their tricks. The piece attracts people from the outside – for instance when they come across the display window. But from the inside it just a chaotic structure of just that – some smoke and mirrors.

So in this case the exclusion is part of the artwork?
In a way the piece brings you to a point of realising that what attracted you in the first place has just been a fake.

Are there any principles involved in your different kinds of artwork?
I was always interested in how we build our identity. But I don’t try to make an explicit statement. What I like is just to question in different ways the things that surround us and from which we create our identity.
Sometimes human behaviour is distracting. For instance. I used to live in the states in the 80s and a lot of highly popular stuff – like converse shoes – where not available in Argentina, where I am from. Systemwise. So when I came back to Argentina on vacation people on the street offered me a lot of money for the shoes I was wearing though they looked like shit. It was insane.

Sorry about that – Not available

Because they were focused through advertising. Thus art is good to question our opinions and is a possible way to awareness.
It can be. But as I’ve already said. The most interesting part for me is the communication. Art starts dialogues and the result of it can be anything. I guess this is the major difference between art and advertising. In advertising you come from A to go to B in order to reach C. In art you come from A to go to B and than…

…fuck C.
Right. Fuck C. Go anywhere you want.

All images © Santiago Taccetti